There’s an oxymoron for you: “Rich Poet.” But the new fortunes of Emirati poet Saif Al Mansouri prove that with talent, grit, and a live television audience, truly anything is possible. The UAE show “Millionaire’s Poet,” in its sixth season, awarded $1.3 million (the Nobel Prize. for comparison, is $1.2 million) to winner Al Mansouri, and perhaps something even more valuable – a global audience of up to 70 million, actually tuning in.
While working with Australia’s Lajamanu Aboriginal population in remote sections of the Tanami Desert, linguist Carmel O’Shannessy identified “a [new] language system, independent of … other languages” spoken by about 300 people. Since her initial discovery in the late 1990s, O’Shannessy has studied the language and its grammatical structure, and now her findings have been published this month in the journal Language (PDF).
Our own Nick Ripatrazone has been on a roll lately. Apart from the many articles he’s written for The Millions, he’s got a forthcoming collection of short fiction that includes works he published in Esquire and The Kenyon Review. He also published a new poem, “South Africa, 1988,” at The Nervous Breakdown, which you can read in conjunction with his self-interview.
Some seriously deranged Amazon customer reviews. (via Doc Searls)A year ago "Our Lady of the Underpass" was a Chicago phenomenon. Eric Zorn revisits.Chimney sweeps and flower pots are the stuff of poetry for Sam.Dale Peck's recent judgment in the Tournament of Books is scarcely worth mentioning, but I did very much enjoy Kevin Guilfoile's commentary on the topic as well as his tale about meeting Ken Kesey.Kakutani's reign of terror turns 25.The Literary Saloon points us to Jonathan Franzen's new book. It's a memoir, and like Ed, I am disappointed by that.The Rake chats with Charles D'Ambrosio
If consecutive profiles in The New York Times and The New York Review of Books are any indication, the reopening of Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre is a very big deal. To celebrate from the comfort of your chair, however, you can listen to the overture from Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's opera The Voyevoda, which opened in the Bolshoi in 1869.
Next week, the folks at Literary Death Match are bringing literature into the third dimension by staging “LDM TV: The Pilot.” Two shows consisting of four readers apiece will take place in Los Angeles, and performances will be judged by a killer lineup including such notables as Susan Orlean, Michael C. Hall, Moby and Tig Notaro. Full event details can be found here. For what it’s worth, I still rank Matt Gajewski’s LDM performance as my all-time favorite, so Beau Sia, Simon Rich, Daniel Alarcón and company have their work cut out for them.
George Saunders is the subject of one of Deborah Solomon's wacky interviews in the New York Times. (via Ed)Scott gets a byline in the SF Chronicle for his review of Duchess of Nothing by Heather McGowan.Elizabeth Crane summarizes the Tom Cruise flick Minority Report like only she can."A rare collection of Dracula-related books is to be handed over to Dublin City Library." I had no idea Bram Stoker was Irish.